kindom musings

Thoughts and musings from a pastor in the peace tradition. Perspectives come from a progressive, justice-minded, feminist position. Responses are welcome.

Name:
Location: Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, United States

I am a Church of the Brethren pastor in my thirties. While I love what I do, I started out with plans to be a veterinarian. God has a great sense of humor, and I wound up in ministry instead. However, my sojourn into veterinary science did make me a vegetarian with a love of animals. (We have two cats and a dog at home -- only a small petting zoo!) My husband is also ordained, and we have a son (LB) and a daughter (KB). My husband keeps me up to date on baseball trivia, and my children keep me giggling. All in all, it makes for a well-rounded life. I was born in Pennsylvania, moved several times for school and work, and have recently returned to my home state. On the Myers-Briggs scale, I'm an INFP.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Innocents

I'm really struggling to process the most recent school shootings. The first two registered at a somewhat surface level, but this one is really getting to me. Part of it is the increasing frequency in random acts of violence. Part of it is because Lancaster County is only one county over from me. I know the area that has been plastered on local and international news. But I think the fact that it was an Amish school is what's affecting me most right now. Amish communities are known for their separation from the world and for simple, faithful living. While the Amish are not without internal strife and brokenness, they are a peaceful, gentle people. To have such tragedy strike seems especially harsh and surreal. I grieve and pray for the families of victims and for the family of Charles Roberts.

They say he carried a grudge from something that happened twenty years ago -- when he was twelve years old. That's around the same age as some of the girls who were shot. Adolescence is tough for lots of people. What could have been so traumatic to made him snap and take out his frustration with guns and killing? He sought revenge among a people who particularly sepak against such things.

I also grieve that this tragedy has become a media circus. For folks who do not want to have their pictures taken, I'm angry at newscasters who ask Amish men and women, "How does this make your feel" while camera persons film their response. What an utter lack of respect and basic human compassion.

I preached on love on Sunday. That seems long ago now. At the time, I thought the message was reasonably good. Now I'm not sure what to say to members of the congregation. It's not that I disagree with anything I said, but sometimes it's hard to remember that love is our strongest defense against powers of destruction.

Meanwhile, the president ponders how to respond. Perhaps he and we as a nation could take a lesson from the Amish who first respond with a need to God ask forgiveness for the Roberts, even as they mourn the loss of daughters, sisters, cousins. For all of our bombs and death, what have we ever accomplished by destroying more lives?

In the midst of all this dis-ease and shock, I received a call today that a friend has just given birth. Just when I think all my innocence is lost and that I run the risk of becoming jaded to goodness and beauty, I remember that life is always being created anew. We who have become numb to yet another cruel act are drawn back into beauty by the eyes of children who have not "seen it all before" and who still fully trust in all that is good and right in the world. That is what makes the death of a child so tragic to me, and it is what makes new birth and life a source of hope that one day we will move past individual, national, and global desires to try to resolve conflict with violence. The babies, the little ones are reminders to feel again, to live with both tears and laughter, to hold fast to one another, and to keep hope alive.

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